Saturday, May 28, 2011

Lil' Gardener

Since it was so nice out on Saturday, I decided it was time to spruce up our flower barrel in the front and two flower pots on the deck. Ryan was a....well, Ryan was a help?

Sand & Surf

While I was away on business in Chicago, Adam got Ryan's Sand & Water Table assembled and set up on the back deck. Saturday ended up unexpectedly beautiful and Ryan had a lot of fun playing in the sand and water with ALL his sand tools.

We spend most of the day outside, walking to the park, playing tee-ball in the backyard, taking away the golf clubs after Nika was un-accidentally smoked in the face, splitting wood (take a guess at which of our family of 3 took on that task), and just enjoying the weather!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dr. Rev. Grandpa

On Saturday, Adam's dad completed a four-year journey and received his Doctorate degree. Adam and his family attended the ceremony and then lots more family came over for supper and fellowship afterwards. We are very proud of all the work Verlyn put in to receive this degree...just not sure if we should teach Ryan to call him "Dr. Rev. Grandpa" or if "Gum-pa" will still do.

Ryan loved the opportunity to play with Uncle Andy and Aunt Kim...

It made him feel like Michael Jordan...
 ...or LeBron James, as Scottie Pippen might say.

Friday, May 20, 2011

New Hair Cut

For those of you who've been on the edge of your seat ever since my "Hair Advice Sought" post of May 16, I apologize for the lengthy delay and the anguish you must have been in waiting to see if I did indeed chop off a good portion of my hair. I ended up going with the reverse-bob again, but this time with a little bit of razored side-bangs in the front. I'm pretty happy with it and it does take a lot less time to do (styled mostly with Kenra spray and a little bit of curling iron or straight iron). Next time I might take a little more length off and layer more of the sides, but for now I'm just happy to not be looking like a Hanson Bro.

Someone else got his hair cut last week and I think he kind of steals the show in the "showing off my cute haircut category." I'm willing to share the spotlight on this one.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Happy Birthday, Lincoln

Ryan's cousin, Lincoln, turned 2 this week and Ryan colored a picture of an ice cream cone for him.
 He also added several dessert and sports-related stickers for good measure.
We were sorry we couldn't be at Lincoln's party, but want to wish him a Happy Birthday!
Here are a few pictures and commentary from Ryan:

Dear Cousin Lincoln,

It's hard to believe that only a year and a half ago, we were these two little munchkins: all cheeks and old man hair, with matching football shirts, just trying to sit upright.

 I know they'll be times we'll fight...
...and times you'll steal the show...

...but just remember I've got at least 5 lbs. on you.

I can't wait for more fun times playing together...
...because we are two little monkeys...

...and we're only getting cuter!

Love, Ryan

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

2 are better than 1

Despite the photographic evidence above, Ryan is actually quite a neat spoon-eater.
It's when he decides that eating strawberry applesauce requires two spoons that things start to get messy!

Cookie Monster

Saturday was a relaxing morning and afternoon at home. Summer is so close we can taste it...literally.  We had a classic summer meal: grilled burgers, homemade french fries, watermelon and strawberries for lunch. Ryan LOVES watermelon and it's funny to hear him pronounce it. Somehow it comes out more like "jellybeans."  In the afternoon I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies which Ryan thoroughly enjoyed with a sippy cup of milk after his nap.

It almost made me feel like a 50's housewife for a day.  I remember reading the "Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle" books growing up and wondering whose mom always shined an apple and prepared hot cocoa on the stove for when her kids came home from school, scolded the kids for leaving their roller skates on the sidewalk, and had to ask "Father" to borrow the car.

In the evening we hit a few graduation parties where Ryan LOVED the orange punch, balloons, and a "puppy dog" at one house and "pish" (aquarium of fish) at another.  It was a great day--sometimes it's the simple things that mean the most!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How Did I Get So Lucky?


Ryan found a fun new game, playing "Timber"  into a pile of pillows! Of course by the time I got the camera out, he wasn't as dramatic, but at the beginning he was doing a scary "Oh no!" face and then saying Timmm-berrrrrr" as he fell over!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hair Advice Saught

 I'm getting a haircut on Wednesday.

A much.needed.haircut.

And in that "I'm so sick of it and just want something ANYTHING new!" place.

Probably because most days, no matter what I try, it ends up looking like this:

 And the only way to prevent the Hanson Bros. syndrome is to Aussie-Sprunch Spray it 90's style and pin the top and sides back like a 12 year-old.
Which doesn't quite reflect my age, marital status, and the fact I bore a toddler. Oh, and that I am a business professional (professional candy-taster, that maybe that does go with the tween image.)

The last time I got sick of this hair:
 I did this:

It's been as short as this:

And the grow-out stage sometimes works:
But often makes me want to do this:

So, what should I do?  Here are a few "inspiration pictures":

Victoria Beckham:

Chelsea Kane:

But will it really look the same without the blond, or the killer body, or the personal professional stylists whose sole job it is to follow you around and make sure you look good? I'm guessing not.

So, what's your vote? How short? What style? Send me a link with a pic and I'll seriously consider it. I'll consider ANYTHING after being so annoyed with my static-filled, clingy, limp, drab, no-good very-bad hair today that I put it up in a regular office rubber band and seriously considered chopping off what it contained with my "marshmallow shears".  And if you don't vote, you can't complain with whatever I come out of the salon with on Wednesday!

I Lah-Loo!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fireman Ryan

Last week, Ryan got a special treat at daycare when the local fire department brought a truck over for all the kids to see. I think Ryan liked seeing the "big truck" and was proud to show off his hat!
Ryan has some pajamas with a firetruck on the front and if you ask him what it says, he'll say "ee-oo-ee-oo!"

Thank-you to the fire department and to our awesome daycare for arranging this fun experience for the kids!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day 2011


And a little flashback to 2010:

Ryan, more than just about anything else in the world, I LOVE being your mom! Watching you grow up brings me so much joy and I love seeing your personality shine more and more each day. Hearing you say "lah-loo" (love you) and getting a hug and slobbery cheek kiss from you makes my day! 

I lah-loo so much!

Omaha Trip

On Friday afternoon, we took off to visit Adam's brother Andy and his wife, Kim.  Andy's wife...not Adam's. I'm Adam's wife...just to clear that up.

We ended up taking Adam's parents' van since the "Check engine" light appeared on the good ol' Malibu a few hours before we were supposed to take off. We'll have to investigate that fun surprise more on Monday. The van turned out to be a huge blessing since we hauled half our house with us and let us all ride together when venturing out into the urban landscape of Omaha.

Ryan was a little antsy on the way down and played fun games like "Keep dropping my monkey/book/water and see if mommy gets carsick turning around to pick it up." We stopped at Arby's and Ryan was interested in eating one thing and one thing only: ketchup. He used curly fries as a vehicle to transport the ketchup to his mouth but soon resorted to just using his fingers. He also liked playing "peek-a-boo" with the people sitting behind us and was fascinated with the people waiting in the drive-through lane. I think he told us "puppy dog" about 9 times which was only 4 more times than the number of dogs we saw in cars with people. One of the cars held 4 Yorkies in the front seat along with their two human chauffeurs!

Ryan got a little time to play with Andy and Kim once we arrived, and thought Andy's head made an awesome "tee" for a game of tee-ball!
Saturday we had a GREAT day at the zoo (see previous post) and then Sunday we headed to church. Ryan ran right into their nursery and when we picked him up, they said he was "very polite and a well-mannered child."  They may have just been trying to get us to join their church, but I think they were sincere and made me a very proud momma! Although if they had seen him at Old Chicago the night before, I'm afraid their assessment would have been a little different.

Andy grilled us some brats and hot dogs for lunch and then we packed up and headed for home. Ryan took a great nap and just woke up for a quick run through Target on the way home. We visited with both sets of parents, picked up Nika, and headed home to unpack, eat, and take a walk. It was a fun weekend and we were happy to see Andy and Kim again!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Omaha Zoo

Saturday morning we went on a highly anticipated trip to the zoo! Here are some picture collages that only took about 3 hours to edit and organize and in the end I decided to semi-group them into animal categories, because organization in vague ways is one of my top skills. And in case you don't figure it out in the first set of captions, I am no animal expert and am too lazy to go look up the proper names for any of these animals, plus when explaining animals to a 1-and-a-half year old, sometimes you just go with "Yes, it's a BIG CAT! MEOW!" instead of "This is a Jaguar, this is a Puma..."

First, some cold-blooded animals: turtle, lizard, snake, fish

Next: Winged creatures: peacock, penguins, some blue thing with spikes, a bat, a parrot (don't kill me if it's a macaw), and some other little spotted bird.

Here we are with Ryan's favorite parts of the day: running around in shorts and sandals for the first time this year, and lemurs. The lemurs in the Madagascar exhibit were actually pretty cool--they are enclosed in a net so they can walk right next to you and one went on the bridge right next to Ryan!

Here's another of Ryan's favorites of the days (and something he repeated over and over all day): Monkeys!  The top right pictures are of the howler monkeys and of Ryan's howling back at them!

 Here are some antelope (which Ryan called zebras because it's hard to tell, but they have white stripes), a polar bear, and rhinos!

This video isn't super exciting, but is a short clip of Ryno meeting the rhinos!

Ryan did a GREAT job at the zoo and was a trooper all day. At 3:00 we decided to call it a day and less than 3 blocks from the parking lot, he was out! It was so much fun experiencing the zoo from his eyes and I think he loved seeing all the animals we read about in real life! We hope to make the zoo a yearly tradition and are very grateful to Andy and Kim for being terrific hosts and zoo guides!
Here are a few tips for visiting Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo:
  • Go right away when it opens at 9:00am. It's cooler, less crowded, and gives you a natural break for lunch just when you start to get tired of walking.
  • Park in front of the IMAX and enter the zoo through the IMAX building. The lines are way shorter than the outdoor entrance.
  • Pack a lunch. We kept our coolers in the van and went out to eat them at lunch time just so we didn't have to haul them around all day, but you are allowed to bring them into the park if you want. There are many picnic areas inside. If nothing else, bring water bottles (especially if you have a stroller to stash them in.)
  • Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Most of us got burned on the backs of our neck because we forgot to put sunscreen there, but it made me more grateful I remembered to put it everywhere else! Ryan fared the best since we lathered him up with sunscreen (don't forget your feet if you wear sandals) and he wore a bucket hat which shaded his eyes, ears, and neck.
  • Alternating indoor and outdoor exhibits helps keep the sun/heat from dragging down your energy. We had GREAT weather, but if it were any warmer, we would have had to take some breaks inside or in the shade.
  • Kids as young as Ryan are more attracted to the "big animal" exhibits and could care less about plants or anything too hard to see or not moving. Skip the Desert Dome and insect pavilion.
  • Don't expect all the animals to be out. Many were sleeping far away from view, but there was still enough to make a good day. Just don't promise your child you're going to see an elephant, because they don't have any in Omaha right now!
  • The petting zoo had about 4 goats to pet and that's all, folks. But it has some great dairy promotion, including a milking simulator. We skipped that one and thought Grandpa could just show Ryan the real thing.
  • You can look up the "feeding times" for various animals, but many of the public feedings only run Memorial Day-Labor Day. Andy and Kim suggested watching the Sun Bears get fed oranges at 11:00am if you're there in the summer.
  • Some exhibits were a little scary for younger kids. Ryan did not like the tunnel in the aquarium and clung to me like a spider monkey when the sharks started swimming over us. He also did not like the "Kingdoms of the Night" which is understandable since it's pitch black with a bunch of alligators swimming around.
  • If you live near Omaha or plan to go a few times, consider getting a membership. It can pay for itself in as little as 2 visits and includes all the IMAX shows. Family memberships including 6 kids are only $99. My BIL and SIL have already made their Dual membership worth it and plan to go several more times. 
And my final tip of the day:
  • If the animals don't hold your interest, there is PLENTY of people-watching to do!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Instant Living Room

On Monday afternoon, our realtor asked if we could do a showing on Tuesday afternoon, so we had about 4 hours that night to clean up a month's worth of laziness to get the house re-staged and decided to throw in building a new living room in the basement because we like to test our marriage and hate sleep.

But, with a big slab of carpet from the room my mom is currently transforming into her dining room, a few discussions on exactly where to cut it, lots of vacuuming and some super-fast staging, we transformed our basement into a passable living room:

I realize it's not HGTV-ready,  but it sure makes the basement look a lot more finished and useful as a living room/play room and is what we could do on exactly $0 budget. We were happy with the results and might even play down there sometimes...if we can keep Ryan from using his toy hammer on the glass coffee table.  I now remember why it was banished to the basement!

We're still listing our basement as "partial finish" and not listing a living room or bathroom in the basement, but we're hoping it will be a pleasant surprise to those who come to look at our house. If you want to see pictures of the upstairs, I have pictures posted on facebook (only accessible to friends of friends) or it's the yellow 3bdrm ranch listed on our local realtor's site. (Sorry not to link to it, but if you don't know me in real life enough to know where I live, I don't want to give out too much info.)

Btw, the couch may just come with the house because unless we borrow a chainsaw because the only way it's going back up those stairs is sans wooden legs!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Purple Panther

My younger sister and her husband have recently discovered the joys of garage sales, but at their first couple sales, it seemed like my BIL and Ryan made out like bandits instead of the baby they're expecting this fall (whom they were shopping for). At their first sale, my BIL got a Micahel Jordan jersey (he collects jerseys) and they got several toys "for when Ryan comes over". They also picked up this sweet purple Panther football jersey for $0.50. On closer inspection, I'm not sure it's even a licensed UNI jersey--it may be a generic "Go Bears! Go Cats! Go Team!" type of thing, but it works out perfect for this panther fan!

I think he likes it! Thanks Aunt Abbie & Uncle Wade!